A couple weeks back we put up a short recap of the “controversy” around fan-made TRANSFORMERS, Windblade,
that’s debuting in her own 4 part comic series, along with her own Hasbro toy. That article was meant to be the first half of a piece where we got to interview Windblade’s author, Mairghread Scott
, but the latter half of that was unavoidably delayed for a bit. So it was much to my delight to receive that interview back today, and OH BOY does Ms. Scott deliver! Want to know more about Windblade, the bots appearing alongside her, and her place in the larger TRANSFORMERS
canon? Well wait no longer, friends!
As a double-plus bonus for the being patient with the wait, IDW and Ms Scott have given us several previews of Windblade supporting characters, including Blurr
, and Starscream
It all started innocently enough. Hasbro, who owns the Transformers
license, held a fan-build bot poll in 2013 in anticipation of Transformer
’s 30th anniversary in 2014. The final chosen bot got a 4 book comic run and its own toy, all chosen by the fans for the fans. Thus was Windblade born, but with just one problem…
Windblade is a female bot.
Holy smokes. It’s no terrible secret that on top of a love for comics and video games, I am also an RPG nerd (and sometimes RPG artist, if I may own-horn-toot). I am not alone in my penchant for high fantasy, either, but finding high fantasy themed anything that doesn’t slap some boobplate or a chainmail bikini on the ladies is sometimes few and far between. I know the official D&D
comic lost me after the first issue, and while the Pathfinder comic is a better choice it still has its moments of broken spines and in general didn’t grab me. I mean, basically, D&D has long been the bastion of epic but predominately male heroes, and while women have always been players at the table, finding representation within that game is still rare enough that when you find it, you hold onto with everything you’ve got.
And boy howdy am I holding onto Rat Queens
so damn hard.
When I initially heard about Sex Criminals
I was leery. I understood the basic premise to be two young people who can stop time when they orgasm, and use this power to do crime. Written by Matt Fraction
(of Hawkguy fame), the premise seemed intriguing; written by just about any other guy and I’d’ve been certain it’d just be weird softcore shlock. That said, I was still wary as I approached the title—it’s so easy to take any premise dealing with sex and women and go someplace incredibly terrible, largely because that’s the majority of examples we see on a day to day basis. I think it’s safe to say that by and large we don’t have healthy associations with women and sex in this society, so any book where that’s one of the main conceits is going to get a pretty critical side-eye from me.
Which is why you gotta believe me when I tell you that Sex Criminals
When I first got a gander at the new Lobo reboot
, I admit to feeling conflicted. Nu!bo is very pretty, and it felt like finally someone was designing characters for my gaze for once, and all the outrage over the changes to his look were a balm to my poor frazzled forced-to-titstare-constantly-at-lady-heroes nerves. But the thing is I like
Lobo, in all his absurdity. Often described as “Deadpool before Deadpool was Deadpool,” Lobo was a caricature of every swaggering, macho, excessively violent, no-fucks-given 80s and 90s action hero I’ve ever known, and I appreciated the constant parody. Lobo was the ultimate combination of every Blood Darksteel Grimface character every teenage boy in the 90s was into, and the results were intentionally hilarious and over-the-top. So, while I appreciated the aesthetics of the new Lobo design, I deeply questioned the wisdom of it.
An Aurora Grimeon Story: Will o’ the Wisp is a brand-new Archaia title coming in November, by newcomers Tom Hammock and Megan Hutchison. Clocking in at over 200 pages, this graphic novel is a doozy for a couple of first-timers, and fortunately it does not disappoint. An all-ages comic set in the Louisiana swamps, it manages to mix mystery and voodoo tradition in a haunting atmosphere, culminating in a tense showdown between malevolent forces from the spirit world and our determined young protagonist, Aurora Grimeon, as well as a cadre of friends and family to help seal the deal.
I admit, I’m always a little leery when something mentions references to voodoo traditions in the south, largely because too often it turns into a racist caricature rather than actual representation. I know that I, myself, would never touch that as a topic because I’m about as far from southern Louisiana as you can get as far as background goes, and no matter how much research I put into it I’d always be an outsider looking in, indulging in voyeurism instead of respect, and I’ve made it a personal mission to try really hard not to be that guy. So it was with some reticence and hesitation that I approached this graphic novel, and I was happy to be largely relieved to see its characters treated like human beings and not cartoon characters.
, a pet project of Jamal Igle
that raised over $50,000 on kickstarter last year, was not in the least what I expected. Billed as an all-ages superhero comic starring a 10 year old girl, I dove into it expecting a cartoonish style, a light, perhaps even flippant tone, and in general just a book about a ten year old girl having a great time with her super-powers. While I expected the sort of breathless enthusiasm I get from My Little Pony
or Adventure Time
comics, what I got was a lot more serious, a lot darker (but not into “is this really for kids” darker, and as someone who was reading Anne Rice
vampire novels at age 10, isn’t about to let dark or mature stop a child from reading anything she wants to). And when I say dark, by the way, I don’t mean gritty mcgrimdark, the tone of much of 90s superhero comics and a tendency even today (cough cough man of steel cough dark knight cough cough) to make things so grimly serious that, observed from outside the medium, it flips right back around to absurd. No, the darkness here is an undercurrent, a tone heard not in the actual dialogue or seen on the pages, but something inferred between the lines.
For me, the central question behind Molly Danger
is, who are the real villains here? More thoughts after the jump, but for the TL;DR crowd or those avoiding spoilers: it’s a solidly good book. It didn’t blow my mind, as such, and while it wasn’t quite as colorful as I’d imagined it would be, it had a generous amount of depth and total lack of pandering to its all-ages audience. If you’re looking for a well-written story and a spectacular grasp of good narrative, I heartily recommend grabbing the the first issue on comixology, and keeping up with it until the end of the first trade.
I was turned onto Amala's Blade
in the same place where I get most of my comics news, reviews, and previews: Tumblr. Specifically, I was following the Tumblr for Princeless
, which I picked up after realizing it was an all-ages comic starring a POC princess who is out to save all the other princesses from...
Well, a Princeless review is for another time. At any rate, in a case of like begets like, the Princeless Tumblr shared Amala's Blade, another comic with a POC heroine protagonist. I was intrigued.
, Amala's Blade
is not an all-ages comic. Issue #0 is packed with swarthy, unsavory pirates, staggering fight scenes, and quite a lot of bloody violence. It also gave us a lot of insight into our titular heroine. Amala's Blade
#1 follows that swashbuckling adventure with much more exposition on the world at large and Amala's place within it.
Mild spoilers are below the cut; if that bothers you, the spoiler-free summary of my thoughts on the issue is that I liked it. It isn't the raucous and crazy introduction we had in issue #0, but it's solid, and while not meaty on action and adventure the exposition is far from dull or ham-handed. The art is pretty stellar throughout, as well, and coupled with the excellent and interesting characterization that alone may make the issue worth picking up.